Vodafone India has launched “Vodafone Music”, a Mobile Internet based music service powered by Hungama’s platform. It is available at vodafonemusic.in, and via an Android App. The service has music and video that is free to stream (which means data charges will apply), and for download, available at Rs 3 for a single song, Rs 10 for 5 songs, and as a pack, at Rs.99 per month, Rs 29 per week and Rs 5 per day for unlimited downloads. The platform allows users favorite songs, adding widgets, managing their account and many more user friendly options. The advance version of the service will also include exciting features like cloud sync, radio, playlist sharing, predictive search
This helps Vodafone increase data consumption – the page works only on a Vodafone data connection, so they make money when users stream the service.
This launch might have been on the cards: Jaidev Iyer, who was significant player in Flipkart’s launch of the now defunct Flyte music store, had left Flipkart to join Vodafone. He had been with Mime360, which was acquired by Flipkart, and before that, at Saregama.
Why a music streaming service, when independent players exist?
We see this development largely as a negative: Vodafone is an access service provider, and it should be focused on improving access, data speeds, optimise content delivery over its networks. It should leave the value added business to third party developers, whose entire focus it on building products and improving customer experience. This development means that Vodafone will compete directly with third party music services like Saavn, Dhingana and Gaana, and it remains to be seen whether Vodafone will allow them to integrate billing. From a Hungama perspective, that should be a Hungama branded service on Vodafone, not Vodafone music with Hungama providing the platform.
As it is, we’ve seen a shift in Vodafone’s approach after Jonathan Bill left the company: it’s much awaited opening up of the API is yet to be introduced, and this particular development is reminiscent of the time when VAS (not the Mobile Internet) dominated mobile services, and telecom operators only wanted white labeled services. This is hardly the signal that one expects from an organization looking to open up to third party developers, and provide consumers with a means to purchase the services the open Internet has to offer.
What’s next Vodafone: your own mobile ad network? Or how about your own matrimonial service for Vodafone users?